Hi Kitten, please enjoy this free spicy read and lmk what you think, below in the comments.
Chapter 7, Gracie
I chewed on my lower lip as I shuffled down the sidewalk, thinking about the night that I had spent with Luke. I shuddered, contemplating the way I had woken up last night and panted like a freaked-out animal in front of him.
It was endearing the way he had soothed me and stroked my hair.
It was strange that Luke was so commanding and stern, yet also had an equally tender, doting side to him.
There was no way that I would ever go through something this huge, finding a potential Daddy who wanted to take care of me, without talking to Sofie about it. I woke up and called her right away to ask her to drive down the mountain and meet me for a self-care day.
While walking down the sidewalk in Briarville, wondering if I would run into yesterday’s blackberry-faced douche nozzle again, I fell into an old habit: points.
I kept points in my head.
One sure way to measure the level of safety or threat was the points system. It staved off the fear which could come upon me and scratch at the back of my neck without warning. Usually, I knew the cause of my fear, but that didn’t mean I had control over it. In this case, was it getting involved with Luke that scared me, or worrying about being teased again for my size?
I wasn’t sure exactly what it was that suddenly made me want to slam my back up against the solid surface of the wall. Between the post office and the public restroom was a good place. The pornographically bright petunia stood out to the right of me. I tried to consciously narrow my eyelids back to a normal size instead of opening them wide in panic.
I breathed slowly and thought about the points:
Ten points in my favor: Luke. Luke was a man who professed to care about me and said he wanted me to call him Daddy. Having a Daddy, for me, would be a dream come true.
Minus five points: I didn’t trust it would last.
Plus ten points: Living in this small town, so very different from the place I came from in Southern, California. It created a barrier between me and homelessness. I could live on Sofie’s couch if things went bad. I would be safe from the scary things that occurred when people didn’t have the protection of four walls and a roof around them.
Plus fifteen points: I had saved enough as a social media manager and established enough clients that I could live and work virtually anywhere I wanted.
Minus ten points: Even though this little town seemed safe and there was a man who acted like he wanted to protect me, there were still meanies around. Case in point: that little squirmy rat who had pestered me yesterday about eating my pie.
Plus ten points: I knew that even though my body didn’t match the beauty standard that women were supposed to adhere to, that even though my body emulated the shape of a guitar versus a stick straight board, there was a man I admired who found me attractive. I actually appreciated my curves most of the time; I loved the rounded corners of my body that felt womanly. Especially given the fact that Luke couldn’t keep his hands off of me when he was in my vicinity, putting his big paw over mine whenever we sat next to each other to eat something, gently rubbing the open palm of his hand alongside my cheekbone and then pushing that hand into my hair to grab a fistful, tugging my neck back so that my mouth lifted up to kiss his.
Plus ten: The way that my body responded to those yummy kisses. His big luscious lips were something that I could dream about all day long.
Plus fifteen: Sofie was coming to town to see me.
And what a cute town it was. I mean, I had landed a rental by being able to move into Sofie’s house when she moved in with Logan. It had all been working out perfectly for me until the silly solar system broke down. Minus five points.
Although that could be plus ten points, because, in fact, if it weren’t for the stupid solar system failing, I never would have met Luke. Well, maybe I would have, but it would have taken longer because I wouldn’t have been staying in his house.
* * *
I hung a left down toward the Under My Spell clothing shop. I walked into the store and saw a girl behind the counter who was obviously native. She had straight bangs that hung just above her eyebrows. She looked adorable in a yellow mini dress printed with blue swallows.
She barely looked up from her book, and when she did, she raised one eyebrow at my question.
“I love the tattoo on your wrist. It’s gorgeous.”
“Thanks,” she said, dropping her eyes back to her book. An obvious signal that I should mind my own business, check out the clothes, and leave her to her reading. It was a quality I could admire. Not everyone was a social butterfly, nor wanted to interact with other humans on a regular basis.
Although it was a little odd that she had a job in a shop where people would be walking in every few moments to ask questions about the merchandise. It gave me ideas about how my skills could help her shift her business model to an online one that would better suit her introverted personality.
Still, her predicament as a reticent person in an outgoing position was kind of amusing and quirky.
Just like this little town. It was full of characters and artists, cowboys, dairymen, and women who wore rubber boots town after working in the barn.
People called it a “Victorian Village”. Built during the heyday of the timber era when a single redwood would fill an entire flatbed on a train, the main street was lined with extraordinarily well-preserved Victorian-era architecture, fronted by cheerful floral plantings.
I loved to wake up and see what the mountains surrounding the town looked like. The Redwoods that had been cut down decades ago were coming back and, even though just at the fledgling state for their species, they were glorious. Below the tree-topped mountains were huge carpets of luscious green grass with healthy grazing cattle. Sometimes the clouds would nestle there, creating a misty swath between the branches. Some days, like today, the fog hung low so that the trees poked out through the top, and the same was true for some of the taller buildings.
Compared to Southern California, this place was obviously a temperate rainforest. It was drenched in moisture, as evidenced by the way things grew like a jungle. It was what allowed the people here to thrive for years, raising cows that grazed on grass that grew without effort or irrigation.
Of course, the land had originally belonged to the ancestors of the young girl in the shop. There had once been twenty tribes in all, and just a smattering of them were left. Those people who possessed modern day wealth earned from huge swaths of land were those families that had killed off huge numbers of the natives during the time of white settlement. It was a clear and recent injustice.
I understood that I wasn’t exactly representative of someone to be welcomed with open arms by this young woman. But it would be cool if she accepted me just a little.
“You have some really pretty things in here,” I told her.
“Is it your shop?”
“Yeah,” she said.
I loved her one-word sentences and kept probing. “Wow, you’re really young to own your own business.”
“I guess.” She shrugged her shoulders.
“What is it like living in Briarville? I mean, it’s quite a way from Trillium Valley.”
“It’s okay. I don’t get out much, other than being here at the store, which is plenty for me. I like the fact that it’s clean and there aren’t as many worries here as there are up on the mountain.”
The Yaruk tribe held the largest territory of any native tribe in California, and, given that the oppression of their people was so very recent, the historical trauma was evident in the population.
I had read recently in the local paper that the valley had an opioid prescribing rate that was three times the rest of the county, and if you drove out there, it was more than clear. There were wild dog packs running in the street. I had volunteered with the Food for Families food pantry one day and saw grandmothers taking care of children because the parents had checked out and were living with addiction. It wasn’t all that different from the reality that Gracie and I had grown up with, but it was more remote, and there weren’t as many services for the families and children who suffered from the impact of substance use disorders.
“Well, I just moved to this town. My name is Gracie. What’s yours?”
“Ariana.” She slammed her eyes back to her book.
“Well, it’s really nice to meet you, and I hope that we get to see each other again soon. There aren’t that many females our age in this town, and it would be great to go out for coffee some time. I actually work in social media marketing and I’d be happy to get your store out there, if it isn’t already. Here’s my card. My fees are super reasonable for local people.” I winked at her and paid for the pink tulle skirt that had caught my eye.
I couldn’t resist a tulle skirt. I walked out the door to meet Sofie.
I stepped out of Under My Spell onto the sidewalk and started down the street toward the salon.
Suddenly, Luke stepped out in front of me after exiting the Briarville Meat Co. I nearly collided into his huge chest.
I sucked my breath in. Just the sight of him stunned me. That this man expressed his interest in me when I was sure he could have any girl of his choice took my breath away. The sheer size of him made my insides quiver. Heat trickled down to the apex of my thighs like someone had turned a heater on between my legs.
“Little Girl,” he said in his deep, cocoa-coated voice. This time, the champagne bubbles skittered up my belly, pouring themselves over the tips of my nipples. I was like the Dita Von Teese of this little cow town, spinning naked in my imaginary champagne glass, spinning sparkly tassels on my boobies, all the men in the room longing after me. At least, that’s what it felt like.
“Hey, Daddy,” I said, looking down at the sidewalk, unable to meet his eye.
He grabbed both my wrists in his hand and swung them slowly behind my back so that they rested at the top of my buttocks, poking my chest out at him.
“What are you up to?”
“I’m going to meet Sofie for a girl’s date at the salon. We’re having pedicures.”
“That sounds delightful. I’d love to watch, but I have a few more things to take care of in town.”
“How did your appointment go this morning? Did you get everything sorted out?”
“What do you know about that?”
“I hope you don’t mind, but I overheard you talking on the phone. It sounded like you were going to see a counselor.”
“I’ll tell you about that later,” he snarled and swooped his soft, hard lips down on mine. He pulled my lower lip into his mouth and teased at it with his tongue.
I inhaled the aroma of his unique perfume, which emanated from his pores and not from any bottle of scent. I couldn’t help it: I moaned.
And I was not quite oblivious to the fact that news of this kiss on the sidewalk, out in broad daylight, would spread like wildfire in this tiny town.
I couldn’t care less.
In fact, just the thought of giving the small-town gossips something to talk about made me suck in a lungful of air and raise my chin up to kiss him harder. This time, it was me nibbling around the edges of his lips and swiping at them with my tongue. He was forced to take a step backward and let up his grip on my wrists. This allowed me to grab two fistfuls of his flannel shirt, pull him toward me, and kiss him even harder.
This time, it was him that groaned. I stopped kissing him suddenly.
“Okay, Daddy; I’ll see you later.” I stepped around him and walked toward the salon.
I looked back over my shoulder and saw him standing there, two feet wide apart, still as a statue. Dumbstruck.
But I also saw that his huge shoulders heaved up and down, breathing hard, letting me know that I had accomplished my mission.
I had cast a spell over my very own Daddy.